Monthly Archives: July 2017

Short Cut With a Hair Cut

The woman who cut my hair today laughed at my hair before she cut it. I deserved it, though. Sort of.

As I’ve written before, one of the odd revolutions over the past several years in Japan has been a change toward 10 minute, 10 dollar hair cuts. I’ve had them, as an afterthought, in train stations, and once when I was bored.

However, because I have a regular place I go, I often get the same barbers. However, I usually don’t get them consecutively.l

Today, though, I got the barber I’d got the last time I got haircut two months ago. She ran her fingers through my hair and laughed at how long it was. (Note: it wasn’t that long in a Beatles mop-top sense, but it was the longest she’d seen.)

I gave her some basic instructions and, after she finished laughing, she went to work. (Note Deux: I’m not joking, because I’m a regular, she knew my hair enough to laugh at it.) Because I’d timed it well, though, I got more than ten minutes.

In the end, it was slightly longer than I wanted but it looks pretty good. Next time I hope she won’t have a chance to laugh.



Once More, the Breach

Today, I worked on a manuscript I’ve been avoiding for a while. I like to put a manuscript aside for a while before I attempt to edit it, but even for me the time I’ve waited on this one has been ridiculous.  I’ve been avoiding it for two reasons: 1) The subject matter borders on personal and I want to handle it correctly; and 2) I’m lazy.

Actually, the personal stuff isn’t that bad because it’s been morphed and modified enough that the parts based on actual events are now fiction. It’s the lazy part that’s the problem.

Because I hand wrote the original (it is literally a manuscript) I now have hundreds of pages to type into the computer and that means I have to translate my own handwriting. As I’ve written before, this is a horrifying thing.

However, as I did the transcribing today, I found myself getting back into the spirit of the book. I remembered what my goal was and I had ideas for organizing the mess.

I also had to do some research on Scotland to remind me what in the story was true and what I was making up. At one point, I was confusing myself.

One of my summer goals is to spend at least one hour a day transcribing the manuscript so that I can eventually print it and do a proper edit.

I suspect the boost I got from today’s restart will keep my energy and focus on the manuscript for a while. But eventually my own handwriting will annoy me and I’ll put it away for a while longer.

No Good Deed Goes Uncaptured

I went early to discover there were no problems. Then I got stuck, which was a problem.

Today the English Club at the school where I work was preparing for their open campus presentations. At least one teacher had to be present to, in theory, check their scripts and critique their presentations. In the end, all we did was open a room and then babysit. Sort of.

I went early to see if I had to make a make-up exam. I didn’t, so I sat in on the prep classes. I proofed the script of one student. Then I just sat and waited. Unfortunately they were in the computer assisted language lab which meant that at least one teacher had to be present at all times.

My colleague left at lunch. I stayed another four hours. (Note: He’d stayed for a couple hours after school last Friday, so we are, technically, even.)

Somewhere in there I got lunch by throwing students out of the CALL. Then I drank some coffee, unlocked the call,  and did my best to stay awake until 4:00.

All I did, and I wish I was joking, was entertain a student who was bored. Because I’ve studied the history of Christianity and the history of religion, he wanted to chat about religion and history.

That kept me awake, but in the end all I did was serve as key master and babysitter.

Of course, the session lasted long enough that a nasty thunderstorm arrived and I got to walk home in the rain. Yeah, it was that kind of day.

Suddenly Back to Work

Tomorrow I have to go back to work. I hope my brain doesn’t suffer from the shock.

To make matters worse, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m only sure, sort of, that I know what I’m not doing. Although I may be doing it.

For reasons I’m not privy to, open campus at the school where I work is on the 22nd instead of today (Marine Day) when it has been in the past. This gives the high school English club extra time to practice their presentations. In the past they’ve played guitars and sung songs and even tap danced. They’ve also given speeches and done power point presentations which are usually a mix of English and Japanese.

My job will be to listen/stay awake and provide feedback. This is fairly painless.

On the other hand, if anyone is failing high school second year, I’ll have to throw together a make up assignment that I’ll have to pass out tomorrow. Granted, at this point no news is usually good news, but you never know.

I could be in for a big shock. Well, at least it seems big after a couple days of doing absolutely nothing.

New Place New Rules

I posted the sale pens and sold three of them fairly quickly. Since then things have been silent at the usual place.

Posting the pens violates all kinds of collector/hoarder sensibilities. I can think of dozens of excuses why I shouldn’t post just yet. Two of my oldest pens sold first and think, symbolically, that’s a useful thing. Normally, like George Carlin, I prefer to leave symbols to the symbol-minded, but this time, because the pens are two of my most sentimental, it’s only right they are the first to go.

To break the silence, I’ve looked into other places to post the pens but those places have different rules. You can sell things but not very often. You can only post fountain pen related items. You can’t be a commercial venture. You can’t be icky. (Well, something like that.)

Because I’ve got a couple non-fountain pens in the sale and because I also have a lot of ink to move, I wrote the manager of a fountain pen related Facebook group to ask a few questions. I’m waiting for a response (mostly about ink which is kind of/sort of a commercial venture) but even if I haven’t heard back I’ll post the pens on a Facebook group tomorrow and hope for the best. (I will also offer to send a link about the ink.)

Luckily I have lots of time next week to pack and ship. Hopefully I’ll have more stuff to ship. If I manage to follow the rules, I should be okay. Probably.


An Afternoon With Monsters and Popcorn

As has become tradition, I was recruited to escort our youngest to the latest Pokemon Movie. Unlike last year, though, I actually stayed awake for most of this one.

For reasons I don’t fully understand–I think some sort of Pokemon fan club was involved–our youngest secured a free ticket to the movie. She especially wanted to go today as it was opening day. I had lobbied for Monday when I’d get a cheaper ticket, but She Who Must Be Obeyed deviously produced a coupon that got me a cheaper ticket. (You can tell that she didn’t want to go.)

We arrived and secured our tickets and provisions and, after an odd delay that annoyed the father at the front of the line, we were able to go to our seats. (The delay was apparently caused by the cleaning crew having to clean up after a room full of kids.)

The movie was pretty good, or at least was more entertaining than last year’s version. I only caught myself drifting off a couple times which is a vast improvement over last year’s Pokemon and this year’s Detective Conan (I remember being there and that I ate popcorn and that Shogi was involved, but nothing else).

After the film our youngest complained about the endless line of trailers for an endless parade of other animated movies that delayed the start of movie. My only complaint, about the movie, was that even animated movies seem to have discovered that shaky-camera fight scene BS.

My biggest complaint, though, was the popcorn. It had random bits of other flavors scattered about in it. This meant that after several bits of salted popcorn, I’d suddenly get a stray piece of caramel popcorn or the theater’s dreadful Shoyu-Butter.

Those being the only problems, it was a good day out.

However, there’s another Pokemon movie scheduled for release this time next year. I suspect I’ll be attending that one, too. Hopefully I’ll get to choose a theater with better popcorn.


Closing Down the Term

Today was the last of classes for the term. It was mostly painless, although I did embarrass myself and annoy a student.

During a test pass back class, the student found an entire section of his test that I hadn’t bothered to mark. I did, however, give him a score for the exam. Usually I notice such mistakes when I’m doing the final accounting.

After apologizing profusely, I marked the missing section and made him sad. Out of a potential ten extra points he earned only two. He left looking kind of glum.

After class I completed all the required paper work, turned in every thing that needed to be turned in and then made arrangements for my final marks to be checked.

Normally, I’d be finished, but one week from tomorrow is open campus. I don’t have to go to open campus, but I do have to go to the school where I work next week to help the English club get ready for open campus. I’ll get a short preview of what I’m missing and try to make it better.

It’s something to do, but I wish it could have been scheduled on a day I have nothing to do so that I’d get credit for doing something and then could get a day where I don’t have to do anything.

Confused? Welcome to the end of the term.

Of Phones and Inventory

I spent part of the day either on the phone or waiting for a phone call.

The rest of the day I spent cleaning and counting. (And denying. More on that in a minute.)

The phone calls were a back and forth with our cellular service provider.  What I was asking them to do turned out to involve lots of research and work on their part and I had to spend a lot of time on hold or hanging out at my desk waiting for them to call back. Luckily, our provider has excellent customer service and although they couldn’t do exactly what I was asking them to do, they told me how to do it. (And I will tomorrow.)

After that, I made one final pass through the pen hoard to decide what needs to go. That led to lots of second guessing and third guessing. That led to lots of pictures, some extra cleaning, and some extra research. It also led to me tracking down missing parts. (It also led to me including three more pens in the sale.)

That led to me deciding on prices which led to more research and a lot of doubt (so that I can avoid registering disappointment) and denial (so that I can avoid actually attempting to sell anything).

I’ll post the for sale list soon. There’s just one more thing I need to do.

Glorious Justified I Told You So

Because I have a lot of stuff I want to do but nothing I need to do I’ve been watching old episodes of American Pickers. This is a dangerous show. If you are a hoarder don’t watch it. If you love a hoarder, don’t let them watch it.

I remember seeing the show the last time I was back in the USA but only recently decided to look it up. When I saw it the first time, I didn’t realize how dangerous it was. The basic premise of the show (two guys digging through hoards for rusty, dirty hidden treasure) proves to hoarders that, yes, no really, that thing will be worth something some day.

Granted, the two pickers will walk into a farm containing 14 trailers full of stuff and emerge with only a few things, but the sale of those few things is enough to justify, to the hoarders at least, that their hoarding was. It also provides enough cash for them to acquire new pieces for the hoard.

I thought it might help inspire me to sell stuff (and it has) but it also puts that little seed in the back of the head that maybe that leg-shaped lamp is worth owning. That’ll be worth something some day.

Time Doesn’t Always Fly

Sometimes they surprise you. At least for a while. But not for a whole class.

I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.

Pass-back classes are a strange thing. We have 50 minutes to do 15-25 minutes worth of work. The rest of the time is spent babysitting. We’ve discussed with the powers what are at the school where I work getting a shorter class, but that involves paperwork and that one teacher who likes to fill the time. (We hate them; we really hate them.)

Usually, I’m entertaining myself during the second half of the class, but today my junior high school students kept me busy.

Several students in each class worked on their summer homework and kept peppering me with questions. I was then torn between helping them or telling them to shut up and waste time like everyone else so that I could work on my own stuff.

However, since four of my five classes today were lower level classes I decided I should probably help them out as a way to encourage them.

When I wasn’t helping them do their summer homework, I was smacking down attempts to get extra points. This also helped make the day productive.

I kind of miss having time to myself, though. Next term I may just refuse to help.